One on One with Tunde Leye



Tunde Leye is an interesting writer, filmmaker and singer. He runs TLsPlace, a blog that has over two million views within the space of a year. He also hosts Write Right, a yearly writing competition geared towards the development of good writing. He is the author of Golden Sands and a children’s illustrated book- The Rat Race. His short film Saving The King is to be released soon.

We recently had a chat with Tunde Leye. This is the full interview.

Tell us a bit about your background.

I always have a hard time answering this question because of it’s vagueness. Most of the info here is in public domain.

When and why did you begin writing? When did you first consider yourself a writer? –

Interestingly framed question, a la “consider myself a writer”. There’s no moment when that happens, it’s a continuum between being a voracious reader and writing your own stories. However, I published my first book in 2011.

What books have influenced you the most?

It’s an interesting mix here. Influences range from D.O Fagunwa’s books written in Yoruba, to Tolkein’s Lord of The Rings Trilogy, C S Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and modern recent work’s like Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. There’s also non-fiction like Mensah Otabil’s Buy The Future. That book was one of the key influences in my life and thinking.

Favourite films?

I like epic fantasy films and movies that have twists and turns that make me think. I typically can guess how most movies will play out quickly. When a movie surprises me, I am genuinely delighted. So films like the Matrix Trilogy, Inception, Lord of the Rings, Chornicles of Narnia, Gladiators, Troy and such are what you’ll catch me watching. I also love cartoons and animations, so Penguins of Madagascar, the whole Disney collection, Anime, that’s me.

Favourite music? –

My musical taste is eclectic and ranges from RnB all the way to Fuji and everything in between. Music actually plays a huge part in my writing and I typically write with music playing over the speakers or earplugs.

Who is your favorite writer and what do find fascinating about their work? –

Tolkien. He created a whole, detailed world in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, complete with internal consistency, languages, races, history and backstories for a plethora of characters. That, is genius.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your Writing? –

Writing to meet deadlines. It’s why I trained myself to write weekly and regularly on tlsplace. That was like me putting myself out there to ensure that I delivered quality stories with regularity that goes with a job. It was challenging but I grew tremendously in the time.

TlsPlace seems dormant these days. Are there any plans to revive your blog?

Lol. The blog is a phase, primarily run for very specific purposes in my writing career. One, to hone my skill and deadline writing as I discussed up. Second, to promote my writing brand. Third to build my fan base. Four, to add a new type of African writing to the single narrative of the dated style of African writing that was predominant. I wrote regularly, at increasing frequencies over the course of two years and racked up almost 2Million views. All and more of the goals were achieved, and I thought it was time to slow down on it and focus on other things. My stories have been on radio, on TV and will soon be adapted to film. There’s also a book in the works.

Do you ever get writers block? Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writers block?

Not really. I think writer’s block is something we writers invented to make our writing mysterious. When we have to deliver on our writing, we write. Simples.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have a book coming out this year. It’s titled Guardians of the Seals and it’s an epic fantasy, Tolkein-esque type novel that covers a huge expansive period from creation to about a hundred years into the future. I also have plans to do a movie adaptation of my novella, Burden of Proof. We registered TLSPLACE Media last year, and this year, we intend to sign on two writers and schedule their publishing. The plan is to package writing in such a way that it is able to sustain its practitioners.

What do you think of the Nigerian publishing industry?

I’ve shared my thoughts on this severally. I think we are focused on the wrong things we are a price-centric, rather than sales-centric industry. We need to begin to think about how to ensure that selling 10,000copies of a book is not such a feat, that should be routine and way below average. We have a lot of brilliant writers, but we need to grow beyond the point where our writers need to escape these shores to maximize their potential. Distribution is the key that will unlock this door and that’s where the real work is.

What are your views on social media and reading culture? Do you think social media has had a positive impact on writing and publishing?

Social media has been a tremendously positive influence on our reading culture. Suddenly, people who would not read a book now voraciously consume bite sized stories on their social media feeds. It ensures our reading culture is not totally dead. It also offers writers a free resource to promote their art and interact with their reader base. It’s a platform I used extensively for my log and books and a lot of other writers do the same.

How can readers discover more about you?

Social media, my blog and they should listen to the news J

What advice do you have for new writers?

Never sell yourself short.

Follow Tunde Leye on Twitter @tundeleye


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